Maxine Bédat is the co-founder and CEO of Zady, a fashion brand and lifestyle destination creating a transparent and sustainable future for the $1.5 trillion apparel industry. The garment industry has become the second most polluting industry in the world. During the 1960s, the average American invested in 25 new pieces of clothing a year. They buy three times more clothes today than they did in the 60s. The reason for this was that trade barriers were actually lowered, creating a financial incentive for brands to shift production abroad. And this had created a trend where clothes were getting cheaper and cheaper, using cheaper materials and cheap labor. The fast fashion industry was fueled by a new fiber: polyester. Polyester is a polluting plastic made from fossil fuels. And now it's in half of our clothes. Maxine Bédat pointed out that there were four main things that we needed to think about when thinking about the rise of polyester. They were non-biodegradable, microplastics in our oceans and food chain, non-breathable and energy-intensive. It is believed that one out of every six people in the world is in the garment industry. About 80% of those people were women, and 98% of them did not receive a living wage. She started looking for ethical and sustainable clothing. And she found that the factory picture of companies contained a lot of things. First, the picture said nothing about transparency. Second, the pictures did not show wages or healthcare coverage. Third, the pictures did not show shadow factories. Finally, the pictures did not show material sustainability. They created the Zady collection and the new standard. First, they thought about user-centered design. Second, they used natural materials and worked directly with suppliers to create sustainability from farm to final factory. Finally, they had a policy of open doors. She offered some consumer advice: check the tags, check the seams, love what you buy, ask brands questions, and think of your purchases in terms of cost per wear. She said that if we used our dollars to support slow fashion, we could feel better in our clothes and we would use our power to clean up the planet.
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